John R. Lawrence

Research Scientist - Study Leader, Interactions between microbial communities and priority substances in aquatic ecosystems

Current research and/or projects

Contributing to Environment Canada’s mandate: risks to Canadians and their environment posed by pollutants or other harmful or dangerous substances are assessed and aquatic ecosystems are conserved and protected

  • Analyses of the fate and effects of emerging contaminants on microbial communities.
  • Micro-scale and molecular techniques for assessing fate and effects of contaminants and other stresses on microbial communities
  • Ecotoxicology effects of complex mixtures and municipal sewage effluents on aquatic ecosystems.
  • Effects of pharmaceuticals and personal care products on ecosystem function
  • Development of DNA microarrays for environmental effects monitoring including impacts of stresses on microbial community structure, function and biodiversity

Professional activities / interests

Associate Editor Canadian Journal of Microbiology

Research grant and journal paper reviews and journal editorial board memberships, including NERC, NSERC, NSF, ad hoc for 52 journals and Journal of Microbiological Methods

Member of Microsciences Beam Team, Canadian Light Source Synchrotron

Member of the organizing committee for the Environment Canada Workshop on the application of genomics in the environmental research “OMICS 2007”, Burlington, Ontario, October 25-26, 2007.

Education and awards

Canadian Society of Microbiologists Fisher Award for significant contributions to the field of microbiology within 10 years of receiving a Ph.D.

Fellow of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC)

Von Hertwig prize for interdisciplinary collaborative research

National Aeronautics and Space Administration Planetary Biology Internship

Key publications

Yergeau, Etienne, John R. Lawrence, Marley J. Waiser, Darren R. Korber and Charles W. Greer. 2010.  Meta-transcriptomic analysis of the response of river biofilms to pharmaceutical products using anonymous DNA microarrays Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 76: 5432-5439. 

Neu, T.R., B. Manz, F. Volke, J.J. Dynes, A.P. Hitchcock and J.R. Lawrence. 2010. Advanced imaging techniques for assessment of structure, composition and function in biofilm systems. invited minireview - FEMS Microbiology Ecology, FEMS Microbiol Ecol 72: 1–21.

Lawrence, J.R., B. Zhu, G.D.W. Swerhone, J. Roy, L.I. Wassenaar, E. Topp and D.R. Korber. 2009. Comparative microscale analysis of the effects of triclosan and triclocarban on the structure and function of river biofilm communities. Science of the Total Environment, 407: 3307-3316.

Lawrence, J.R, G.D.W. Swerhone, E. Topp, D.R. Korber, T.R. Neu and L.I. Wassenaar. 2007. Structural and functional responses of river biofilm communities to the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory diclofenac. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 26(4):236-245

Lawrence J.R., G.D.W. Swerhone, L.I. Wassenaar and T.R. Neu. 2005. Effects of selected pharmaceuticals on riverine biofilm communities. Canadian Journal of Microbiology. 51:655-669.

Lawrence J. R., M. Chenier, R. Roy, D. Beaumier, N. Fortin, G.D.W. Swerhone, T.R. Neu and C.W. Greer. 2004. Micro-scale and molecular assessment of the impacts of nickel, nutrients and oxygen level on river biofilm communities. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 70:4326–4339.

Research facility

11 Innovation Blvd.
Saskatoon, SK S7N 3H5


Adjunct Professor, Department of Food and Bioproduct Sciences, University of Saskatchewan